Important Bills In The Indian Parliament – Complete Study Notes

The bills passed (and / or pending) in the parliament are an important form an important part of the topic of ‘governance’, which itself is an important subject for the UPSC CSE (Civil Services/ IAS Exam). This blog post covers some of the most important bills passed (and / or pending) in the parliament in the recent times.

1. The HIV And AIDS (Prevention & Control) Bill, 2014 [Passed]
  • The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on February 11, 2014 by the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad.
  • It seeks to : prevent and control the spread of HIV and AIDS, prohibits discrimination against persons with HIV and AIDS, provides for informed consent and confidentiality with regard to their treatment, places obligations on establishments to safeguard their rights, and creates mechanisms for redressing their complaints.
  • It lists the various grounds on which discrimination against HIV positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.  These include the denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to: (i) employment, (ii) educational establishments, (iii) health care services, (iv) residing or renting property, (v) standing for public or private office, and (vi) provision of insurance (unless based on actuarial studies).  The requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education is also prohibited.
  • Every HIV infected or affected person below the age of 18 years has the right to reside in a shared household and enjoy the facilities of the household.  The Bill also prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and those living with them.
  • The Bill requires that no HIV test, medical treatment, or research will be conducted on a person without his informed consent. Establishments keeping records of information of HIV positive persons shall adopt data protection measures.
2. The Integrated Goods & Services Tax Bill, 2017 [Passed]
  • The Integrated Goods and Services Tax Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on March 27, 2017.  The Bill provides for the levy of the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) by the centre on inter-state supply of goods and services.
  • Levy of IGST:  The centre will levy IGST in the case of (i) inter-state supply of goods and services, (ii) imports and exports, and (iii) supplies to and from special economic zones.  Supply includes sale, transfer, exchange and lease made for a consideration to further a business.  In addition, IGST will be levied on any supply which will not fall under the purview of the Central and State GST Acts.
  • Tax rates: IGST will be levied at a rate recommended by the GST Council.  The tax rate will be capped at 40%.
  • Exemptions from IGST: The centre may exempt certain goods and services from the purview of IGST through a notification.  This will be based on the recommendations of the GST Council.
  • The GST is expected to add 2% to the country’s GDP, besides making the movement of goods easier across states. Because so far taxes have varied across states, often commercial trucks have had to go through multiple checkpoints to obtain the necessary permits and pay several taxes to the states they pass on their routes, which causes delays and encourages bribery. A uniform tax will make that movement of commercial products smoother.
3. The Real Estate (Regulation And Development) Bill, 2013
  • The Bill provides for mandatory registration of all projects with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority in each State.
  • It makes mandatory the disclosure of all information for registered projects like details of promoters, layout plan, land status, schedule of execution and status of various approvals.
  • It seeks to enforce the contract between the developer and buyer and act as a fast track mechanism to settle disputes.
  • 50% of the buyers’ investment has to be deposited into an escrow account that would be used only for the construction of that project.
  • The Bill prohibits a developer from changing the plan in a project unless two-thirds of the allottees have agreed for such a change.
  • Builders would be responsible for fixing structural defects for five years after transferring the property to a buyer.
  • In case builders still cause delays in transferring properties to buyers, the appellate tribunals would intervene and slap fines on them within 60 days.
4. The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 [Passed]
  • The Act provides maternity leave up to 12 weeks for all women. The Bill extends this period to 26 weeks. However, a woman with two or more children will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
  • The Bill introduces maternity leave up to 12 weeks for a woman who adopts a child below the age of three months, and for commissioning mothers. The period of maternity leave will be calculated from the date the child is handed over to the adoptive or commissioning mother.
  • The Bill requires every establishment with 50 or more employees to provide for crèche facilities within a prescribed distance. The woman will be allowed four visits to the crèche in a day.
  • An employer may permit a woman to work from home, if the nature of work assigned permits her to do so. This may be mutually agreed upon by the employer and the woman.
  • The Bill requires an establishment to inform a woman of all benefits that would be available under the Bill, at the time of her appointment. Such information must be given in writing and electronically.
5. The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 [Pending]
  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 was introduced by Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Mr. J. P. Nadda in Lok Sabha on November 21, 2016.
  • Purposes for which surrogacy is permitted:  Surrogacy is permitted when it is, (i) for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility; and (ii) altruistic; and (iii) not for commercial purposes; and (iv) not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation.
  • The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
  • The certificate of eligibility is issued upon fulfilment of the following conditions by the intending couple: (i) Indian citizens and are married for at least five years; (ii) between 23 to 50 years old female and 26 to 55 years old male; (iii) they do not have any surviving child (biological, adopted or surrogate); this would not include a child who is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from life threatening disorder or fatal illness.  Other conditions may be specified by regulations.
  • Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother:  To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to: (i) be a close relative of the intending couple; (ii) be an ever married woman having a child of her own; (iii) be 25 to 35 years old; (iv) be a surrogate only once in her lifetime; and (iv) possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.
6. The Finance Bill, 2017 [Passed]
  • As per Finance Bill, 2017, it will now be compulsory to have an Aadhaar (from July 1, 2017) in order to file income tax returns and to obtain and retain PAN, or permanent account number. The aim is to put curbs on instances of issuing multiple PAN to a single individual. Further, quoting of Aadhaar number would restrict granting of subsidies to only those individuals who are eligible to claim it.
  • The amendments to the bill propose to remove: (i) the limit of 7.5% of net profit of the last three financial years, for contributions that a company may make to political parties, (ii) the requirement of a company to disclose the name of the political parties to which a contribution has been made. In addition, contributions to political parties will have to be made only through a cheque, bank draft, electronic means, or any other scheme notified by the government to make contributions to political parties.
  • The threshold limit of cash payments has been decreased from Rs. 3 lakhs to 2 lakhs.
  • Certain Tribunals are proposed to be replaced, and their functions are proposed to be taken over by existing Tribunals under other Acts
7. The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016 [Ordinance : In Force]
  • The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Fifth Ordinance, 2016 was promulgated on December 22, 2016
  • The central government had designated some properties belonging to nationals of Pakistan and China as ‘enemy properties’ during the 1962, 1965 and 1971 conflicts.  It vested these properties in the ‘Custodian of Enemy Property’, an office under the central government.  The 1968 Act regulates these enemy properties.
  • Definition of enemy:  The 1968 Act defined an ‘enemy’ as a country (and its citizens) that committed external aggression against India (i.e., Pakistan and China).  The Ordinance expands this definition to include: (i) legal heirs of enemies even if they are citizens of India or of another country which is not an enemy, (ii) nationals of an enemy country who subsequently changed their nationality to that of another country, etc.
8. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 [Pending]
  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one who is partly female or male; or a combination of female and male; or neither female nor male.  In addition, the person’s gender must not match the gender assigned at birth, and includes trans-men, trans-women, persons with intersex variations and gender-queers.
  • A transgender person must obtain a certificate of identity as proof of recognition of identity as a transgender person and to invoke rights under the Bill
  • The Bill prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in areas such as education, employment, and healthcare.  It directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes in these areas.
  • Offences like compelling a transgender person to beg, denial of access to a public place, physical and sexual abuse, etc. would attract up to two years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Another important bill was the one for the State Bank of India (Subsidiary Banks). Read a detailed analysis of the merger.

Hope this gives you the required information.

Stay tuned for more!

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